By Jim Christopulos and Phil Smart
Van Der Graaf Generator was one of the most musically adventurous and lyrically sophisticated groups to emerge from the late-’60s/ early-’70s “progressive rock” movement. Unlike many of their contemporaries, VDGG never achieved massive commecial success by settling into a safe and comfortable presentation, compelled instead to court a more mercurial muse, often with artistically transcendent results. The group disbanded in 1978, but last year the “classic” lineup of Peter Hammill (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Hugh Banton (organ), Guy Evans (drums), and David Jackson (saxes/flute) reformed to release the double-CD Present and play a series of sold out shows.
In this 317-page hardcover book the authors chronicle VDGG’s history from 1967 to 1978, interviewing scores of people who were associated with the group, including all living members of its various lineups. An immense amount of information is presented clearly and respectfully, without ever descending into obsequiousness, or becoming mired in details. The Book will obviously be of great interest to fans, but it also provides fascinating insights into the culture of the times. Curiously, there’s no discography or index, though a PDF version of the latter may be downloaded from the VDGG Web site. Phil and Jim.